Bipartisan Legislative Committee Unanimously Affirms Historic Update to Illinois’ Arts Learning Standards

Illinois is now a national leader in this key area of arts education.

ILLINOIS – A bipartisan, state legislative committee today affirmed updated arts learning standards – the first update in nearly 20 years and a major win for education in Illinois.

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) voted unanimously to support the standards. The committee consists of 12 state legislators – six Democrats and six Republicans – and its vote serves as a strong, bipartisan statement that the arts are essential to a complete and competitive education for all Illinois students.

Through its vote today, JCAR took the final, required step in making the updated standards official, affirming action taken by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). On June 16, 2016, the State Board voted unanimously to adopt the standards recommended by the Illinois Arts Learning Standards Initiative.

Educators led the initiative, an 18-month process coordinated by Arts Alliance Illinois in partnership with ISBE. Members of the initiative’s Steering and Advisory Committees – a diverse, statewide group of teachers, administrators, and teaching artists – met more than 34 times and volunteered over 1,400 hours in developing the updated arts learning standards. The initiative included forums, surveys, and extensive community outreach.

During ISBE’s public comment period, more than 900 Illinoisans submitted comments of support for the standards – equivalent to one comment of support for every hour of the 45-day comment period. In addition, more than 35 organizations have officially endorsed the standards.

Like other subject areas, the arts have learning standards. Arts learning standards identify what is important for students to know and be able to do in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts.  The updated standards reflect the needs of Illinois students, incorporate best practices in arts education, and honor the diversity of school districts across the state.

The arts give students the fullest experience of being human, while preparing them for college and career. Through the arts, students learn critical thinking, effective communication, broad-based collaboration, and creative problem solving. They grow in self-confidence and self-direction, create meaning, and engage other cultures through learning.

For more information on the updated arts learning standards, visit IllinoisArtsLearning.org.